Jim Nabors got a letter from Ron Howard more than 50 years after they met

It seems Gomer and Opie kept in touch!

For 23 episodes between 1962 and 1964, Jim Nabors played Gomer Pyle on The Andy Griffith Show. While the character would eventually have his own spin-off with Gomer Pyle U.S.M.C, he lived in Mayberry for a few years before enlisting. Gomer lived side-by-side with the Taylors and Barney Fife, all of which gave Nabors the meaningful experience of working with some of the greatest performers of his day. People always want to know, of course, whether the costars stayed in touch after the production wrapped.

Nabors reunited briefly with some of his castmates for The Andy Griffith, Don Knotts, Jim Nabors Show, a 1965 variety program. While the sketch format would've allowed plenty of opportunity for the three men to appear as their Mayberry characters, none of them did. Forgoing the chance to cash in on what already made them famous, the actors attempted to satisfy audience expectations by performing new characters previously unseen on The Andy Griffith Show

The cast of The Andy Griffith Show reunited for the 1986 Return to Mayberry television movie, and the public appearances that surrounded the program, but this was a rare example of Nabors, Knotts, and Griffith working together after the '60s. Accounts persisted that Griffith and Knotts resented Nabors' success, and both held a serious grudge. In fact, Griffith went decades without even speaking to Nabors.

While the grownups of Mayberry may not have all kept in touch, one of the youngest residents still wrote to Jim Nabors, decades later.

In a 2014 interview with Indianapolis Monthly, Nabors had the chance to discuss one of his favorite topics, The Indy 500, where the actor had the pleasure and honor of starting the festivities each year with his rousing rendition of "Back Home Again in Indiana." 

However, the wide-ranging conversation naturally touched on the highlights of yesteryear. The interviewer asked Nabors if he kept in touch with Ron Howard, and the answer was genuinely heartwarming.

"I got a letter from him the other day, and it was the sweetest note," said Nabors. "A very personal thing, and I was dumbfounded to get it. He was talking about how he just turned 60. See, I’ve known Ron since he was 6 years old.

He wrote this letter, and he said that he was going to have a party for his 60th birthday. But it coincided with the Academy Awards, and too many of his friends wouldn’t be able to come. He said if he ever did decide to have the party, I would certainly be on the top of the list."

Watch The Andy Griffith Show on MeTV!

Weeknights at 8 & 8:30, Sundays at 6 & 6:30 PM

*available in most MeTV markets
Are you sure you want to delete this comment?


WordsmithWorks 4 months ago
With Knotts' success in movies and on Three's Company and Griffith's success with Matlock, I don't think there was any reason for them to be jealous of Nabors.
Runeshaper 4 months ago
That does sound like a nice letter and was kind of Ron to send. Still, seems like drama was present with Andy, Don, and Jim!
Are you sure you want to delete this comment?